There’s a phenomenon in the rap world called trap music. Trap is a contraction: terrible + rap = trap. At least the internet will attest. But what does this say about modern appreciation for rap and hip-hop? Since when is having Lil’ Jon belching “HEY!” repeatedly in the background of a song the cool thing? Since when is hip-hop not focused on the rhymes, the intricate beats, and the soul of the music?
If real hip-hop ever died, then the Crunchy Kids walk like its doppelgänger. Mint, their debut album, showcases the musical abilities of these up-and-comers who sound like they’ve been doing hip-hop since the ’80s. And what’s more, they’re doing it live – this is a four piece band of talented musicians. With some biting rhymes, a drum kit, a funky bass, and old-school organs, Crunchy Kids have taken hip-hop back to its origins, rooted in jazz, blues, and a need to write about existence. Everything about this group is unorthodox in the modern schema of rap artists: they’re not rapping over samples; they’re not blinged out; they’re not heavily tattooed. Three of the four look like Seth Rogen and company from “Knocked Up.” But the sound is a knock out, a beefed up R&B cocktail of heavy new age jazz drums, ultra-low bass lines, and soulful Motown keys.
Lyrically the album also returns to the origins of rap – largely focused on social commentary and clever portrayal of this theme. The lyrics are sharp, completely thoughout, and just adult enough to flesh out fully the album’s color. On the whole, Mint is a very successful album, especially as a debut work. Worthy of purchase, or at least visiting their channel on YouTube, as they will likely be a sensation soon enough. 4/5